So, I've been looking at saddles, because, let's face it, as much as I love my synthetic for long hours in the saddle with light work, it just isn't a working-weight saddle. Plus, like every saddle I've ever ridden, it is technically too big for me, at sixteen inches.
Since I've never had a saddle that actually fits me I've asked a few people what the proper size for my tiny butt would be, and I've been told a fourteen to fourteen and a half inch seat should fit me fairly well.
Off the rack there are precisely two styles of saddle that come in fourteen inches. Barrel racing saddles, and youth saddles.
Not exactly working weight either.
So my only real option for a saddle that actually fits me is a custom. Which translates roughly as "go ahead and sell your eggs cause that's the only way you're gonna afford this."
But, being an optimist, I've been perusing websites for custom saddlemakers near enough to me for me to visit in person, first. Because I'm picky, and if I'm going to pay that much money for anything I'm going to see the quality of the goods in person before I commit to it.
I've only found one that I like what I see on the site well enough to consider it a real option, rather than a maybe.
We're talking right at three grand for a basic saddle, no tooling, no extras. Meanwhile I want at least corner basket weave and a border to strengthen the leather, strings, a padded seat, and rawhide covering on the cantle roll and a horn bead in rawhide.
Nothing extremely fancy, although if I'm laying out that much cash I might go the extra hundred bucks to get my initials brand-style on it.
So I'm looking at $3,500 to $4,000.
All because I've got a tiny butt and can't buy a working weight saddle off the rack.
On the other hand, if the quality is as good as it looks, that saddle will last me literally for the rest of my life. Heck, Farmdad's saddle belonged to his grandpa, who had it built custom in the 20's, and that one has been ridden in feedlots and banged around working, and has only had the fleece, the seat, and the leather on the swells replaced.
A truly high quality saddle will be in your will, and if I'm going to spend as much on a saddle as I did on my car, I want that quality.
So, the tax return is going in the special saddle account, and I'll be continuing to save my pennies.
Maybe I'll be able to afford it by the time I'm thirty.....